BUSINESS LICENSE SEARCH
When you start a business, there are often licenses and permits that you will need. The specific set of licenses and permits required depends on the kind of business you have.
Read our free guide below or browse our recommended business license search services to find all business licenses and permits you need.
FEDERAL LICENSES & PERMITS
If your business will be involved in any of the following commercial areas, you may need to obtain a federal license or permit:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Firearms, ammunition, or explosives
- Fish and wildlife
- Maritime transportation
- Mining and drilling
- Nuclear energy
- Radio, television and broadcasting
- Transportation and logistics
- Commercial Fisheries
For more information on federal licensing, visit the Federal Licenses & Permits page on the sba.gov website.
Recommended: If you fall in one of the above categories, consider using a professional service to handle your business licenses. This will make sure you are compliant with all federal, state and local laws.
STATE LICENSES & PERMITS
Many businesses require a state license or permit in order to operate legally in their state. Additionally, some professions require business owners to pass a state examination before practicing, such as lawyers, doctors, and electricians.
Other professional service providers that typically require state licensing include accountants, barbers, contractors, mechanics, plumbers, and real estate brokers.
Find out more about licensing in your state by selecting your state below:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Washington D.C.
- West Virginia
Local Licenses & Permits
In addition to federal and state licenses and permits, many businesses will need a local license or permit in order to conduct business within their specific county or municipality. These will vary, and depend on the nature of your business. For example, if your business serves the public and produces a lot of waste, you should expect to need permits from the local fire department and waste management department. Other common local permits include food and liquor licenses, as well as signage permits.
For more information on local business licenses and permits, check with your town, city or county clerk's office. You can also get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
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